A new Facebook page encouraging people to identify motorists stealing disability parking spaces has been launched as calls mount for tougher policing.
The Facebook page - "You've got my Car Park, want my Disability too?" - is aimed at encouraging members of the public to post photographs of anyone abusing the mobility parking permit rules.
It is unclear who launched the page.
Tauranga Age Concern president Angela Scott said stronger enforcement would deter people who took up the carparks.
Mrs Scott said she it was a major issue as Tauranga aimed to be the first city in the country to gain Age Friendly City status by addressing issues facing older citizens.
"There was quite a bit of feedback and anger in some cases that able-bodied motorists were using mobility parks when they are clearly able to walk to where they need to go," she said.
"Sometimes I accept it could be a genuine mistake but there is a group of people out there who are deliberately being very inconsiderate."
Mrs Scott said people need to understand mobility parking permits were not free, and the permit cardholder had been medically assessed to qualify.
One elderly Omokoroa man, who did not wish to be named, said it was a huge problem, particularly finding free disabled parks at supermarkets and parts of the central city.
"When you confront people we often get abused. It needs to be policed better," he said.
Kristel Saul, senior team manager at Tauranga branch of Number One Shoes, agreed.
Ms Saul said on Anzac Day an elderly shopper was forced to park right in front of the store because the disabled park had been illegally taken.
"Most people are very apologetic when confronted, but some are aggressive and I think it's totally unfair. I'd like to see the parking wardens coming up here far more often to police it."
Last year 216 infringement notices were issued by Tauranga City Council.
Council's parking team leader Kevin Nally said the city's six parking wardens did their best to enforce the rules, and urged anyone with concerns to call council's call centre.
Council is in talks with CCS Disability Action about more parks, particularly in the CBD.
Sara Georgeson, who oversees CCS Disability Action's mobility parking permit scheme, did not believe people were being deliberately obstructive.
"But people do need to be reminded there are more than 100,000 permit holders with serious mobility problems, 75 per cent aged over 65. If the permit holder was their relative such as an aunt, or their parent, then I'm sure people would be a lot more considerate," she said
She was concerned that the Facebook page was confrontational and there was a real risk of alienating permit holders.
Tauranga City Council mobility permit parking statistics
130 parking spaces on-street and off-street (not including parking buildings)
Plus 62 in parks and reserves around the city.
Infringement notices issued
216 in 2012
47 in 2013 (first 3 months of this year)
Western Bay of Plenty District Council:
Te Puke - 9 parking spaces, Katikati - 5
Total infringement notices issued:
99 in 2012
27 in 2013 as at last month
(Approximately 25 % waived and warning given as permit holder forgot to display it)
Infringement fee $150
- Tauranga City Council and Western Bay of Plenty District Council.